The US Supreme Court has sensationally overturned the conviction it imposed on Arthur Andersen over the work the collapsed accounting firm carried out for Enron.
Andersen officials were convicted in June 2002 of obstruction of justice after massive amounts of documents relating to its work for former energy services giant, Enron, were destroyed.
However, in a 9-0 opinion released today, the Supreme Court justices concluded that ‘jury instructions at issue simply failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing’, according to chief justice William Rehnquist who wrote the opinion. ‘Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required,’ he added.
According to CNN news, the ruling threw the case back to lower federal courts to sort out, but it gave no indication whether Andersen would be granted a new trial.
The ruling potentially represents a major defeat in the US government’s fight to reduce corporate wrongdoing.
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